“Back to Reality: Computerized Cognitive Training Lends a Hand to Schizophrenia” reads the post on the Schizophrenia Research Forum (SRF). The post refers to the recent article published in Neuron summarizing the results of clinical trials led by NARSAD Independent Investigator Grantee, Sophia Vinogradov, M.D. and NARSAD Young Investigator Grantee Karuna Subramaniam, Ph.D. This groundbreaking work demonstrates that behavioral manifestations of schizophrenia (including cognitive and social functioning deficits), as well as the corresponding brain activity, can be improved with well-designed computerized cognitive training.
Antipsychotic medications are useful in improving the positive symptoms of schizophrenia but they have little effect on the cognitive deficits that strongly impair the capacity of patients with schizophrenia to integrate functionally into society. Non-pharmacological ‘cognitive remediation’ strategies, such as this work done with computerized brain training, seek to strengthen a person’s capacity to process information accurately and efficiently. Subramaniam and Vinogradov were able to measure improvements in both cognitive functioning and brain activity in schizophrenia and to show that it was associated with improved social functioning six months later. See more in a recent SRF Webinar that includes a presentation by Vinogradov.
The article about this NARSAD Grant-funded work was posted on SRF and sparked a lot of commentary and interest. SRF is fully sponsored by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. It offers a virtual community to scientists collaborating in their quest for causes, improved treatments, and better understanding of schizophrenia. Beyond a meeting place for scientists to share and build upon ideas, SRF also serves as an important information provider to a worldwide audience of consumers, family members, clinicians, and other mental health professionals. With high-quality, timely, and well-written content, SRF has become the dominant online presence for information on schizophrenia research. Each year, traffic on the website has doubled, even topping 1 million hits during one month.
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation supports Recovery from mental illness not only by funding NARSAD Grants, such as those awarded to Drs. Vinogradov and Subramaniam, but also by disseminating the results of research so that those who have felt the impact of mental illness are aware of the progress being made and new treatment possibilities becoming available. The dissemination is done in an ongoing manner through SRF, the Foundation website, symposia, webinars, publications and more. Please stay in touch so that you can fully benefit from the real progress being made.